Monday, September 19, 2016

From Ian:

PMW: Summer camps teach Palestinian kids that stabbers are heroes
One of the ways the Palestinian leadership turns terrorists into role models and heroes is by naming summer camps after them.
This summer, Palestinian children in the Jerusalem area were able to join a summer camp that was named “the Martyr Baha Alyan Pioneers” - after terrorist Baha Alyan who with an accomplice murdered 3 Israelis on a bus last October.
The camp was arranged “under the supervision of the [PLO] Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs” - which is headed by Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee Jibril Rajoub - and “in partnership with the Jerusalem Suburbs Education Directorate,” which is under the PA Ministry of Education. [Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, Aug. 14, 2016; official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 16, 2016]
Children from the Bethlehem district were able to join the “Martyr Mamoun Al-Khatib Camp.” Al-Khatib was a 16-year-old terrorist who tried to stab an Israeli civilian on Dec.1, 2015.
The Al-Khatib Camp was also held “under the auspices of the [PLO] Supreme Council for Youth and Sports,” and the Deputy Secretary-General of its southern council, Najeh Al-Izza, spoke at the opening event. He “emphasized that the Supreme Council is focusing on the youth sector, as it is the foundation of the future and the hope of the present.”  He went on to explain that “120 boys and girls will participate in the activities of the Martyr Mamoun Al-Khatib Camp.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 17, 2016]

America’s Accidental Moral Victory
It tells you something about the moral bankruptcy of U.S. policy in Syria that one of the few times the U.S. has done something right, it was entirely by accident.
On Saturday, U.S. aircraft–apparently two F-16s and two A-10s–bombed what they believed to be ISIS forces in Syria’s eastern Deir al-Zour province. Within minutes, Russian personnel notified the U.S. command post in Qatar that the troops being bombed were in fact part of the Syrian army. The bombing immediately stopped but not before killing at least 62 Syrian soldiers. A senior administration official then issued this statement: “The United States has relayed our regret through the Russian Federation for the unintentional loss of life of Syrian forces.”
This was the first time that the U.S. had ever bombed Bashar Assad’s forces, which have been responsible for crimes against humanity, causing the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Syria’s civil war. But instead of justifying the bombing on the grounds that it is necessary not just to protect civilians but also to end the civil war which has fueled the rise of extremist groups such as ISIS, the U.S. has de facto apologized for the bombing! And to Russia no less, which has been providing the air cover for Assad’s forces to take back ground from the rebels.
Sensing the American confusion, the Russians are pressing their advantage with calls to convene an emergency UN Security Council meeting–something that Russia has never requested when Assad’s aircraft or its own have struck hospitals in Syria. A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman is being quoted demanding a “full and detailed explanations about whether this was deliberate support of the Islamic State or another mistake.” She also said, tongue no doubt firmly planted in cheek, that “after today’s attack on the Syrian army, we come to the terrible conclusion that the White House is defending the Islamic State.”
This is what Secretary of State John Kerry gets for implementing the policy advocated by Donald Trump and actually pursued by President Obama–a policy of cooperating with Russia in Syria. Never mind that the U.S. and Russia have no interests in common: Moscow wants to see Bashar Assad stay in power in perpetuity; the U.S. wants to end the power of Islamist extremist groups, which will never happen as long as Assad is pursuing a war of annihilation against the Sunni population.
Security Expert: Lone-Wolf Islamist Terrorists Everywhere, Including in US, Inspired by Palestinian Attacks Against Israelis (INTERVIEW)
Lone-wolf Islamist terrorists around the world — including in the US — are drawing inspiration from Palestinian attacks against Israelis, an international security consultant and political risk analyst told The Algemeiner on Sunday, a day after eight people were stabbed at a mall in Minnesota (for which ISIS claimed responsibility), and 29 people were wounded in a bomb blast in New York City.
“We are going to see a rise in mass stabbings and vehicle-rammings by those with Islamist leanings, because they see how effective such methods are in places like Israel and they want to mimic it,” Dr. Joshua Gleis, president of Gleis Security Consulting, predicted for The Algemeiner. “The bottom line is that people are learning from one another.”
The surge of Palestinian violence against Israelis that began a year ago has seen countless stabbing and car-ramming attacks. The latest of these, as reported by The Algemeiner, took place on Sunday morning, in a settlement south of Jerusalem.
Regarding Saturday’s mall attack in St. Cloud, Gleis said, “It was most likely homegrown. It’s not like somebody sent this guy over from Yemen to do it. It’s much more likely he was indoctrinated online, did very little training, if any at all, and went out to conduct the attack. Anybody can buy a knife.”
Gleis highlighted the tough security task this presents. “Those seeking to do us harm are trying to find ways to do so before they get caught,” he said. “And they understand that if they are part of a large plot, there is a much greater chance of getting caught.”

CNN Expert: Possible ‘Two or Three Lone Wolves Somehow Got Together’ for N.Y., N.J. Bombings
A CNN global affairs analyst said Monday it was possible that multiple lone wolf terrorists “somehow got together” to plot and carry out this weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey.
Host Carol Costello asked David Rohde, an investigative reporter at Reuters, for his take on who was behind the bombings. Rohde said he believed a cell was responsible for the attacks over the weekend in New York and New Jersey and that there may be a foreign connection.
“Just the number of devices that have been found, it’s clearly very alarming. You know, and in terms of the foreign connection, it’s not clear,” Rohde said. “[The suspect] is an Afghan, but my suspicion if it’s any foreign tie, it’s to ISIS and Syria itself.”
“This will be more a case of a young–he seems like he had very little, spent very little part of his life in Afghanistan,” Rohde said. “So, maybe a group that radicalized online. The worst case would be if someone had training in Syria, and came back. That would give them, you know, better skills to carry out the attack.”

NY police seek American of Afghan descent over bombing that injured 29
Authorities are looking for a naturalized American of Afghan origin for questioning over a weekend explosion in a Manhattan neighborhood that injured 29 people, as the governor conceded Monday that investigators could no longer rule out international terrorism.
The man sought for questioning was identified as 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami. Mayor Bill de Blasio said he could be armed and dangerous.
“We need to get this guy in right away,” de Blasio said on CNN. “My experience is one the FBI zeroes in on someone, they will get them.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that there was no evidence to suggest that the bombing was related to international terrorism, but he appeared to walk that back Monday.
“Today’s information suggests it may be foreign related, but we’ll see where it goes,” he said.
5 in custody in connection with Manhattan bombing
Five men have been taken into custody in connection with a bombing in Manhattan Saturday night that left 29 people injured, federal investigators said on Monday.
While the FBI said no one has yet been charged in the case, authorities claim a “vehicle of interest” was stopped on Sunday, and five men detained for questioning.
Witnesses say heavily armed police forces had swarmed around a vehicle in Brooklyn Sunday night near Verrazano Bridge.
Investigators say the bomb set off in Saturday night’s attack contained Tannerite, an explosive material used in target practice and widely available. A second explosion – a pipe bomb in New Jersey, did not use Tannerite, police said.
Authorities say the Manhattan bombing may be tied to the New Jersey explosion and a stash of explosives discovered in the Garden State on Sunday, though no conclusive link had yet been established.
Cellular phones were found near the sites of both explosions, suggesting they may have been used to detonate the charges.
Robot Detonates New Jersey Device in Latest Bomb Discovery
Five potential bombs were discovered overnight near a New Jersey station, one of which blew up on Monday as a bomb squad robot tried to disable it, after a weekend of attacks and security alerts in the United States.
The devices were found late on Sunday, a day after a pressure-cooker bomb packed with shrapnel exploded in New York City’s Chelsea district, wounding 29 people, and a pipe bomb went off along the route of a New Jersey charity run without hurting anyone. Also on Saturday, a man armed with a knife wounded nine people at a Minnesota shopping mall.
Investigators were probing possible links between the attacks, which came as world leaders begin converging on New York for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
While officials described the weekend bombs and the Minnesota attack as deliberate, criminal acts and said they were investigating them as potential acts of terrorism, they stopped short of characterizing the motivation behind any of them until more evidence is uncovered.
In the latest incident, five potential explosive devices were found in a backpack left in a trash can near a train station and a bar in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Mayor Christian Bollwage told reporters.
After cordoning off the area, a bomb squad used a robot to cut a wire to try to disable the device, but inadvertently set off an explosion, he said.
France remembers victims of terror attacks in Paris ceremony
A ceremony in memory of all victims of terror attacks was held in Paris, as France is still under a state of emergency.
The names of the victims of attacks carried out by Islamic extremists last year in Paris and in July in Nice were read on Monday during the ceremony, which also remembered those killed in attacks in Brussels, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Mali [guess who was missed].
The ceremony, organized by associations of victims, gathered hundreds of families and people injured in the attacks, in the presence of President Francois Hollande.
“Our country had never been attacked to this extent, with such destructive rage, with such barbarian cruelty. That’s why it was so important for names, all names to be evoked,” Hollande said.
He insisted on the need for support, protection and help for survivors and their families. Medical and psychological care must be provided for free, he said.
Vic Rosenthal: American military aid: bad for America, worse for Israel
Reactions to the signing of a 10-year $38 billion memorandum of understanding (MOU) for American military aid to Israel are coming in, as predictable as the moon and the tides. The man Netanyahu calls Israel’s “worst Prime Minister ever”, Ehud Barak, claims that Netanyahu could have obtained another $7 billion a year if only he hadn’t opposed Obama’s Iran deal so strongly. Similar remarks have come from the parliamentary opposition, unsurprisingly. Others thank America for its commitment at a time that its own military budgets are being slashed. Still others curse it for helping Israel with its continued ‘genocide’ against the ‘Palestinians’, who have tripled in number since 1970.
The truth is that Israel does not need and should phase out military aid from the US. It is bad for Israel and bad for the US.
Israel doesn’t need it. The $3.8 billion per year that will come from the US is about a quarter of Israel’s 2015-16 defense budget of $15.47 billion. This is a lot of money, but consider that the government’s overall budget is about $89 billion, and Israel’s gross domestic product today is close to $300 billion, almost double what it was 10 years ago.
In addition, the new agreement phases out Israel’s ability to spend any of it outside of the US. In the past, up to about a quarter of the aid could be spent in Israel. Does anyone doubt that many items can be procured here or elsewhere, at lower cost? I don’t. The F-35 alone costs about $200 million per aircraft. Are there alternatives? We might be able to find out if we went shopping with our own money (possibly the F-15SE would become available).
Finally, increased investment in our military industries would improve our ability to sell our products to other countries, helping to offset the loss of US aid.
The failure of Israel’s intellectual class
A former editor of an Israeli newspaper once encouraged US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice in 2007 to get the US administration to “rape Israel” into making concessions to Palestinians.
‘A call from Israelis to the Jews of the world,” reads the latest initiative of “500 eminent Israelis.” Among the signatories of the “call” were prominent lawyers such as Michael Sfard, academics Moshe Zuckermann and Yossi Ben-Artzi, as well as musicians such as David Broza. It’s a kind of who’s-who of Israel’s elite, among them former politicians, writers and activists.
There have been many open letters in the past and other lists whereby the same crowd has attached itself to various admonitions begging America, Europe, or a combination of the two to “save Israel from itself.”
The latest letter says that “our best hope for the future – the surest path toward security, peace and prosperity – lies in a negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will result in the establishment of an independent Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel. We call upon Jews around the world to join with Israeli partners for coordinated action to end the occupation and build a new future for the sake of the State of Israel and generations to come.”
You’d think that if people in Israel wanted to change Israel’s policies, the correct address might be the Israeli government. You’d think that perhaps the Palestinians might play a role alongside the Israeli government in creating an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But in the eyes of large numbers of Israel’s intellectual class, the best way to “solve” problems in Israel – that are largely of Israel’s own making – is to beg people from Los Angeles, New York and London to do it. This cloying, beseeching letter is symbolic of the failure of Israel’s intellectual elite to create a healthy relationship with the State of Israel, and indicates their lack of understanding of their place in that state.
ICC unlikely to take action soon against Israel
A report by the International Criminal Court Prosecution explaining its methodology for prioritizing which cases to push forward with the fastest indicates that it is unlikely to take action against Israel in the near future, but that settlements as war crimes may eventually be center-stage.
Since January 2015, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has been preliminarily examining Israel and “Palestine” for alleged war crimes violations relating to the 2014 Gaza war.
The report issued by the ICC Prosecutor’s Office at the end of last week, but not previously reported on in Israel, does not mention Israel or the Palestinians specifically.
But the report does frame its principles for selecting cases for investigations or prosecutions, and states explicitly that “if national authorities are conducting or have conducted investigations or prosecutions…and such investigations or prosecutions have not been vitiated by an unwillingness or inability to genuinely carry them out, the case will not be selected for further investigation or prosecution.”
The IDF legal division has investigated or is still investigating 31 criminal cases and a range of 360 other preliminary cases, including all of the three main cases that the ICC Prosecutor has previously expressed the most interest in.
Obama may back UN 2-state move if Trump wins, ex-diplomat says
A looming Donald Trump presidency would make it more likely for lame-duck US President Barack Obama to support a United Nations Security Council resolution laying down the basic parameters for the creation of Palestinian state, a former top US official said Sunday.
“I suspect that if Trump wins, the president would be more inclined to go for a Security Council resolution to try to do something that binds, creates standards for the future that the next president couldn’t undo,” Dennis Ross said at a conference on the future of Zionism and the US-Israel relationship. “If Clinton wins, I suspect he [Obama] would be more sensitive to her concerns as to whether this helps or hurt her.”
Ross, who worked on Israeli-Palestinian issues for decades, including a two-year stint as special assistant to Obama and a year as special adviser to Hillary Clinton, said that the current president “would like to do something, leave some kind of legacy.”
Ross was speaking at a panel organized by the second annual Zionism 3.0 Conference, sponsored by The Times of Israel, at Palo Alto’s Oshman Family Jewish Community Center. The panel was moderated by this reporter.
Jerusalem has for decades relied on a tacit US policy of shielding Israel from resolutions at the UN Security Council, which are often described as one-sided. While Obama’s possible move would not reverse that stance, it would mark a significant departure, Ross noted. What Obama decides to do, though, he said, will likely be heavily influenced by the outcome of the presidential race.
PreOccupiedTerritor: Obama White House Now Dar-Al-Islam, Can’t Be Relinquished To Non-Muslims (satire)
Islamic scholars are weighing in on the proper course of action in advance of upcoming US presidential elections, noting that with Barack Obama leaving office in January 2017, it is wrong under Islamic law to allow a non-Muslim to assume the office after him, as that would violate the rules governing the treatment of territory once conquered by Islam: they must remain under Islamic rule.
Obama’s second term as president ends on January 20, at which point the winner of the November 8 election will succeed him. Neither Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton nor Republican candidate Donald Trump is Muslim, and among the crop of third- or fourth-party candidates, not a single Muslim has mounted a serious campaign. The White House under Obama attained the status of Dar-al-Islam, the domain of Islam, which under Islamic principles may never be relinquished to the forbidden infidel domain of Dar-al-Harm. The situation poses a challenge for Islamic theologians, who remain divided in how to handle the impending violation.
The mainstream approach in the Islamic world involves patience, explained Imam Hussein Malia. “Spain – al-Andalus – hasn’t been under Islamic rule for more than five hundred years, but that doesn’t stop us from yearning for it to be returned to our hands once and for all. Conquest can only go one way in the Islamic conception. Now that Barack Hussein Obama has secured an Islamic foothold on Pennsylvania Avenue, it cannot be permitted to revert to the infidel control of a Donald Trump or a Hillary Clinton.” He spat as he pronounced each name.
“Many of us are trying to engineer that reclamation sooner rather than later,” added his colleague, Imam Rashid Khalidi. “That can be accomplished directly through violence, of course, and plenty of Muslims can be found to engage in that effort. But in my opinion, it is possible for the achievement – the Reconquista, if you will – to take place on a less literal level, at least at first, with a president willing to be as accommodating and forgiving of Islamic violence as Obama himself has been. After all, he is not technically a Muslim either, but that doesn’t stop us from claiming his occupation of the Oval Office as a blow for Islam.”
JPost Editorial: Similar Battles
Is it possible to take the steps necessary to fight terrorism while maintaining an open society that protects basic freedoms and liberties? Many would argue that it is not. Precisely those aspects of democracy that afford citizens privacy, freedom of movement and other liberties are what would-be terrorist exploit to strike at the heart of open societies. To stop the terrorists, it is argued, those freedoms must be curtailed, if only temporarily.
These steps are often justified as emergency measures designed to protect democracies from those who seek their destruction. A delicate balance must be maintained, however. If too many freedoms and liberties are curtailed, democratic countries risk deteriorating into police states in which the basic rights of citizens are trampled. The very raison d’etre of democracies is undermined in the process.
Freedom-loving citizens lose their patriotic zeal, and with it the conviction that justice is on their side.
A number of democracies have been forced to grapple with the moral dilemmas of waging a war with terrorism.
Two Palestinians attempt knife attack in Hebron; both assailants shot
Border police thwarted at attempted stabbing at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, in the eighth Palestinian attack against Israelis in the last four days.
Shorty before 2 p.m. two young Palestinian men from approached a checkpoint by the ancient Herodian structure, that attracts Jewish and Muslims worshipers as well as thousands of tourists.
The Palestinian assailants walked up to the border police guarding the site, arousing suspicion.
They ignored calls from the border police officers to stop. As they drew closer, one of the assailants took out a knife and tried to stab the officers.
Border police shot and killed the assailant. According to the police spokeswoman the officers called out to the second man to step aside, away from the line of fire.
Watch: Security cameras capture terror attack in Old City
The Jerusalem Police released a statement describing the stabbing attack near Herod's Gate that occurred Monday morning, together with security footage showing the attack.
The female police officer wounded during the attack underwent surgery over the past few hours and has been transferred to the ICU, sedated and intubated.
"The investigation has so far revealed that the terrorist, B. M., a resident of East Jerusalem in his 20s, arrived at the Damascus Gate area in the morning hours armed with a knife that he had apparently hidden in his clothing," the police statement reads.
"At near 7:30 a.m., he spotted 2 police officers, male and female, walking towards Herod's Gate, advanced on them quickly, drew the knife, and stabbed both officers in their upper body.
"Despite his wounds, the officer managed to fight the terrorist off, take a step back, load his weapon, and shoot the terrorist, neutralizing him. The officers were wounded moderately to seriously and the terrorist was seriously wounded.
"The actions of the police officer, taken despite his serious wounds, showed determination, bravery, and perseverance, and prevented further harm to security personnel and other innocent people.

Cops close East Jerusalem sites after stabbing attack
Jerusalem police shuttered the shops along a major East Jerusalem street on Monday following a stabbing attack nearby that left two officers in the hospital, one in serious condition, police said.
“The shops along Sultan Suleiman Street have been closed, and that is under the framework of an investigation into the circumstances of the incident,” police said in a statement.
In addition, some stores on nearby Salah ad-Din Street and inside the Damascus Gate were also closed after the attack, according to Palestinian media reports.
Just after 7:30 a.m., 20-year-old Ayman al-Kurd came up behind two police officers and stabbed them both repeatedly, seriously injuring a female officer and moderately wounding a male officer, according to police.
Watch: Jordanian terrorist brandishes knife - and is eliminated
After Jordanian officials condemned Israeli police for shooting dead a terrorist in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israeli authorities released footage of the man brandishing a knife and attempting to murder police officers.
The 28-year old terrorist, Saeed Amro, a Jordanian national, had entered Israel as a tourist on Thursday.
The Jordanian government claimed Amro was innocent, decrying his death as a “barbaric act of the army of the Israeli occupation,” calling the shooting “premeditated.”
However, in a video released on Sunday, Amro can be seen charging an Israeli police officer before being neutralized.
Terrorist attack at Damascus Gate foiled

Jordan wants more details from Israel over killing of ‘martyr’ citizen
The Jordanian government on Monday formally requested that the Israeli ambassador in Amman provide full details regarding the death in Jerusalem on Friday of a Jordanian national, who was killed during an attack on Israeli police.
“The Jordanian government is urgently following up on the details of the murder of the Jordanian martyr Saeed Amro in occupied Jerusalem,” Jordan’s official Petra News agency reported.
Acting Jordanian Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Momani requested that Israeli ambassador Einat Schlein provide all information regarding the investigation into Amro’s death, so that “appropriate” action could be taken.
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem confirmed that Schlein was invited to the Jordanian Foreign Ministry “as part of the ongoing dialogue on the subject, including an update on the details of the event.”
The Israeli statement said there has been “intensive” contact between the two foreign ministries and all “relevant bodies” on both sides since the incident occurred on Friday
Forward, Voice of America Correct Headlines on Palestinian Attacks
Following a series of Palestinian attacks over the weekend, CAMERA's Israel office today prompted corrections of two headlines, in The Forward and in Voice of America, which depicted reported Palestinian assailants as victims.
As noted earlier today in CAMERA's Snapshots blog, the misleading Voice of America headline read "Israel Kills Palestinian in West Bank."
As the accompanying article stated in the very first sentence, the Palestinian in question had "stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier."
In response to communication from CAMERA, editors commendably amended the headline to state: "Israeli kills Palestinian Who Wounded Soldier in West Bank."
Similarly, The Forward headline for the accompanying Reuters article was: "Israeli Troops Kill 3 Palestinians in West Bank and Jerusalem."
IDF raids Palestinian publisher, seizes ‘inciting material’
Israeli security forces descended on a Palestinian publishing house in the West Bank village of Bani Na’im overnight Sunday-Monday, confiscating equipment, propaganda for a Fatah terror organization as well as material that incited violence against Israelis, the IDF said in a statement Monday.
The raids came in response to a sharp uptick in terror attacks in recent days, specifically Friday’s car-ramming attack outside the Kiryat Arba settlement next to Hebron, the army said.
Flags of the Fatah terror wing, office equipment and “inciting materials” found at the Hebron-area publishing house were seized by the IDF and Israel Police.
In the nearby villages of Sa’ir and Beit Ummar, Israeli troops searched the homes of Palestinian assailants who recently perpetrated attacks against Israelis in an effort “to prevent the forming of additional attackers.”
In separate overnight raids across the West Bank, security forces also uncovered two guns, a pipe bomb and thousands of shekels in cash. They also arrested 10 Palestinian terror suspects.
PreOccupiedTerritor: IDF Still Not Promising Virgins, Paradise, Family Pension To Killers Of Muslims (satire)
Defense observers were horrified to discover today that this many decades into the religious dimension animating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Israeli defense establishment has failed to guarantee a place in Heaven to anyone who dies in an attempt to take the lives of Muslims, and has not made the killing of Arabs the impetus for monthly stipends to families of those who attempt to do so. The discovery threatens to upend the notion of balance, which has served an important role in the conception and framing of the conflict for more than a generation.
Journalists and commentators reviewing Israeli policy toward Palestinians and Arab citizens of Israel expressed disbelief and disturbance at the realization that not a single Israeli soldier or civilian has been promised such rewards by official organs of the state, even those who have killed dozens of Arabs. A spokesman for the group insisted that Israel immediately implement a system promising such an afterlife to the perpetrator and support for his or her family, so that the moral equivalence of both parties to the conflict can continue to be safely assumed in reporting on it.
“This is outrageous,” declared Luke Baker of Reuters. “The refusal of the Israeli government and military to adhere to the assumptions the international media make about them never ceases to violate new sensibilities, and makes the job of journalists that much more difficult. It makes me and my colleagues look like fools, or biased, when we let our mistaken approach govern our coverage of developing events, which is no way to treat the press. We have filed a grievance with the Government Press Office in this regard.”
Iran's Rouhani: Tactical Shift at the UN
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will be attending the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York this week.
Based on the latest developments, all signs point to a tactical shift by Rouhani, in which his messages and tone will be quite different this year.
In the previous sessions of the UN General Assembly, Rouhani and his team adopted a diplomatic tone in order to have the UN Security Council lift sanctions against Iran. He praised the success of the nuclear agreement, its contribution to peace and its prevention of more tension and potential conflagration in the region. Iran's objective was achieved: a few months later, when all four rounds of the Security Council sanctions were removed, billions of dollars and billions of cover-up stories arrived, all cost-free gifts from the U.S.
After achieving these goals for Iran's ruling politicians, Rouhani's message this year will switch to blaming the U.S. for all sorts of injurious shortcomings in the nuclear agreement, which Iran, incidentally, still has not signed.
U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has sent hundreds of billions of dollars to Iran, and has hidden Iran's supposed non-compliance with the nuclear deal to which it never officially agreed in the first place. The deal, in fact, seems only to have existed in the overheated imaginations of the US and other gullible members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Nevertheless, the U.S. has ignored what Iran's violations could be, and has assisted Tehran in evading any terms of the nuclear agreement it wished.
Ya’alon: “I Don’t Know About Any” Israeli Security Figures Who Think Iran Deal is Good
Asked if he was one of the Israeli defense officials who President Barack Obama claimed considered the nuclear deal with Iran a success, former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Thursday that he didn’t know any security officials who felt that way.
After a wide-ranging presentation at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy that partially dealt with Iran’s growing threat to the Middle East, Ya’alon was interviewed by the institute’s director, Robert Satloff.
Satloff referred to Obama’s claim in August that the “Israeli military and intelligence community — the country that was most opposed to this deal … acknowledges this has been a game-changer.” He then asked Ya’alon: “You offered a pretty strong critique of this so I think it’s fair to say you’re not one of those national security figures that he was talking about. Is that correct?”
“I don’t know about any of them,” Ya’alon responded. “Because I personally said that there is the good news about the deal is the technological delay in the project, but I added something else, that this is the only good news.”
Khamenei: We won't negotiate with the Americans
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Sunday said the Islamic Republic must stand strong against Washington on the region’s conflicts.
“The Americans insist we negotiate with them on regional issues, especially on Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen,” Khamenei said in a speech to commanders of the elite Republican Guards quoted by AFP.
“What is their main goal for requesting these talks? They have no aim but to prevent the presence in the region of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the main factor of America’s failures,” he charged.
Major generals Mohammad Ali Jafari, the Revolutionary Guards chief, and Qassem Suleimani, head of its foreign operations wing, the Quds Force, were among hundreds of members who attended the speech, according to AFP.
Khamenei, whose country has not had diplomatic relations with Washington since 1980, stressed that military power and intimidation were the most effective means to keep foreign threats at bay.
U.S. made wire payments to Iran before and after cash payment linked to prisoner release
Remember the story of the cash payment to Iran which the Obama administration swears was definitely not a ransom payment? The official explanation for why that payment had to be made in cash came from President Obama himself who said, “The reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran that we couldn’t send them a check and we could not wire the money.”
Yesterday the Treasury Department admitted it made two separate wire payments to Iran, one before and one after the delivery of the $400 million in cash in January. From Politico:
In July 2015, the same month in which the U.S., Iran and other countries announced a landmark nuclear agreement, the U.S. government paid the Islamic republic approximately $848,000. That payment settled a claim over architectural drawings and fossils that are now housed in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and Iran’s Ministry of Environment, respectively. Then, in April 2016, the U.S. wired Iran approximately $9 million to remove 32 metric tons of its heavy water, which is used to produce plutonium and can aid in the making of nuclear weapons.
Politico reports the payment in cash was specified in the January agreement because Iran, “was very aware of the difficulties it would face in accessing and using these funds if they were in any form other than cash.” So it sounds like we did this at Iran’s request.
Advocacy group: Obama gave Iran $1.7B at terror victims' expense
The Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center, which represents Israelis with American citizenship, sent a letter to U.S. congressmen this week to protest the transfer of $1.7 billion in foreign hard currency to Iran as part of the nuclear deal.
The $1.7 billion was demanded by Iran as leftover interest from business deals between the countries prior to the Islamic Revolution in 1979. U.S. law, however, prohibits the transfer of such funds before the deduction of compensation payments to families of American citizens wounded in terrorist attacks either carried out or supported by Iran.
Shurat Hadin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said, "The secrecy surrounding the transfer of these funds was part of the White House's effort to conceal the erasing of its debts to Iran, with compensation money intended for those who have been hurt by its terrorism."
Fox News reported earlier this month that the Obama administration secretly transferred the sum around the time four American prisoners were released -- and it was far more than the $400 million initially reported.
Republicans have called the payment "ransom."
Congressional officials told the Wall Street Journal that the remaining $1.3 billion was paid in two more installments, delivered on Jan. 22 and Feb. 5, just days after the initial prisoner release.

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